By Aleksandra Krzysztoszek
(EurActiv) — Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has decided to stop supplying Ukraine with weapons in its war against Russia in reaction to escalating tensions between the two countries over grain imports.
Poland’s foreign ministry summoned Ukraine’s Ambassador Vasyl Zvarych following statements by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the UN General Assembly in New York on Wednesday.
During the assembly, Zelenskyy said, “Some in Europe play out solidarity in political theatre, making the grain supply into a thriller”.
“Those countries seem to play their own role while they actually help set the stage for the Moscow actor”, he added.
Zelenskyy discussed Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary’s refusal to drop the grain import ban despite the European Commission not prolonging it. The countries argue that they defend their own grain growers against falling demand and prices that harmed the domestic markets over the last year.
Kyiv sued the three countries at the WTO, as confirmed by the organisation’s spokesperson, and a request for consultations was received on Monday evening, the spokesperson told Reuters.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal later confirmed on Telegram that Kyiv would impose retaliatory import restrictions on certain categories of goods from Poland and Hungary if they did not lift their unilateral bans.
In the case of Poland, an embargo would be imposed on apples, cabbage, onion and potatoes.
This will pose significant trouble, especially for apple growers, who already suffer from the lower demand for their crops due to the excessive inflow of cheap apple juice from Ukraine to Poland. Ukraine is the fourth biggest importer of Polish apples, according to the Polish Association of Fruit-Growers (ZSP).
The conflict escalated further after the Polish PM stated that Warsaw would stop providing Kyiv with weapons as a response.
“We are no longer transferring weapons to Ukraine because we are now arming Poland with more modern weapons,” Morawiecki said on Wednesday in an interview with Polsat television.
He added that he will not put obstacles on arms shipments from other countries, considering Poland is a crucial military hub for weapons transfer to Ukraine.
Warsaw slams Ukrainian oligarchs
Zelenskyy’s statements were also criticised by the Polish ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party MEP and former prime minister Beata Szydło.
“President of Ukraine is complaining… but for what? The transit corridor existed, and it still exists. Unfortunately, it was the Ukrainian oligarchs who abused the trust and flooded the markets of EU countries with their grain instead of transporting it further,” she wrote on X.
“What Volodymyr Zelensky says today are insinuations unworthy of such a serious politician”, Szydło added.
Meanwhile, President Andrzej Duda compared Ukraine to a drowning man.
“Anyone who has ever been rescuing a drowning person knows that a drowning person is incredibly dangerous and that it can pull you into the deep […] A drowning person is grasping at everything he can”, he said.
Poland “must act to protect itself from harm to us because if a drowning person causes harm and drowns us, he will not receive help,” according to Duda.
The Polish president was supposed to meet his Ukrainian counterpart in New York, but the meeting was called off at the last moment.